Books: Implications Of Apocalypse: THE THANATOS SYNDROME

Three of Author Walker Percy's five previous novels bear titles with implications of apocalypse: The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins and The Second Coming. The other two, The Moviegoer and Lancelot, are exceptions in name only. For all of Percy's fiction revolves around a central question: can humane, civilized life survive this murderous, mechanized century? Details change from book to book, but a number of constants recur. The hero is typically a Southerner and a loner, a weirdo in the eyes of friends and relatives, whose despair at the decline of civilization has lured him into alcoholism, drug addiction or...